Thursday, October 30, 2008

The kitchen can be a dirty place.

I was listening to a bit with Nigella Lawson on NPR's Morning Edition. Nigella talked through several Fall recipes that, apparently, make her feel like a kitten has curled up in her stomach for a nap or some such nonsense. I admit, I’m not a fan. Has anyone else noticed that it is impossible to replicate her dishes because she provides no concrete instruction? For instance, "Chop the chocolate with a mezzaluna...until you have rubbly shards." Also, her recipes are guaranteed to include ingredients that do not exist in this country. Once you have your rubbly shards, pile on 2 meringue nests from a packet and sweetened chestnut puree or spread, such as Clement Faugier. Right. I'll just pop down the corner shop and get some from the guv'nor.

NPR's Steve Inskeep ended the feature by saying that every man in the studio had been listening intently to Nigella throughout the piece. You could hear in Steve's husky voice that Nigella's closing remark about a creamy dessert - "And then, as my brother would say, I apply it to my face" - in her trademark sultry English accent, had achieved its desired effect. The female co-host, Renee Montagne, jumped in immediately to say that all the women in the studio had been listening intently, too, because women appreciate Nigella just as much as men. That's sweet, Renee, but completely inaccurate.

Nigella is supposed to seduce men with her little sex-kitten act. All of the women on Food Network are groomed to make kitchen porn. First, the uniform of a bright V-neck top and dark-colored pants to emphasize the cleavage and de-emphasize the posterior. If you can ever tear your eyes off of Nigella’s mouth, baby got back. Staying tuned throughout the flirtatious cooking sequence is rewarded by the most overtly sexual moment of every female-hosted cooking show: the money shot, when the host takes a huge bite of her delicious creation and her eyes roll back in her head. "Ohhhhhhh, it’s good, mmm, so rich and creamy. Ahhh, I can't get enough. OOOOh, it tastes even better right off my fingers. Oh, yes, Yes, YES, mmmm. Okay, I’ll see you next time on Licking Lucy’s Bowl!"

Have you ever seen a male host perform a money shot? I think not. If they taste the food at all, and usually they hand it to someone else to eat, it’s a quick, small bite and a terse, “That’s good.” And I’m not complaining, no sir. If I ever see Emeril or Mario Batali moaning in pleasure, smacking their buttery lips, I may have to gouge out my eyes.

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